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Expert Reviews 1 of 3
By Rick Popely
May 24, 2001
Vehicle Overview The Spectra is a sportier hatchback version of the front-drive Sephia subcompact sedan that offers greater cargo-carrying versatility. The Spectra went on sale in the spring as a 2000 model, and then Kia added the smaller Rio sedan in the summer. A midsize sedan called Optima, a clone of the Hyundai Sonata, joined the roster late in calendar 2000.
Kia is based in South Korea and is owned by Hyundai, the countrys largest auto company. For 2001, Kia adopts the same comprehensive warranty. It covers the whole vehicle for five years/60,000 miles, major powertrain components for 10 years/100,000 miles and corrosion for five years/100,000 miles. The warranty includes free roadside assistance for the first five years.
Exterior The Spectra has different front styling than the Sephia, and hatchback rear styling instead of a regular trunk. It rides the same 101-inch wheelbase but is 2 inches longer at 176 and slightly longer than the Ford Focus sedan.
Two versions of the Spectra are available the GS and more expensive GSX and the latter has alloy wheels and front and rear spoilers for a sportier look.
Interior Like the Sephia sedan, the Spectra hatchback comes with a folding rear seat that expands cargo volume beyond the 11.6 cubic feet behind the rear seat (though Kia doesnt say how much). The larger opening on the hatchback Spectra makes it easier to load and unload cargo.
Though there are seat belts for five occupants, the small rear seat lacks space for more than two children to fit comfortably.
Under the Hood The Spectra uses the same 125-horsepower 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine as the Sephia and offers a choice of standard five-speed manual or optional four-speed automatic transmissions. Antilock brakes are optional on the GSX model.